Some women struggle with pain from fibroids - KAIT-Jonesboro, AR-News, weather, sports

Women struggling with fibroids

The National Institutes of Health says as many as one in five women may have fibroids during their childbearing years and half of all women have them by age 50. Here's one story about an America Now reporter's struggle with this painful condition.

Kimberly Holmes-Wiggins married the man of her dreams, but just a few months later, her body put their vows to the test.  

She suffered prolonged pain, fatigue and hair loss, to name a few.

Finally, a doctor told her she had fibroids.

It's not clear what causes the benign, non-cancerous masses. Genetics and race play roles. Research shows black women are most likely to develop them. Many have them, and most don't need treatment.

Those who do often experience heavy periods, pelvic pain, anemia and in rare cases, problems getting pregnant or even miscarriages.

Gynecologist Dr. Chandra Gravely determined Holmes-Wiggins would be a good candidate for one specific surgery - a myomectomy.

The goal of the myomectomy is to remove the fibroids while keeping the uterus intact, which is important if you hope to have children, and Holmes-Wiggins and her husband do.

The surgery took a couple of hours, and there weren't any complications, but there were more than a few surprises.

Doctor Gravely initially believed there were six fibroids. Once inside, she found 20 tumors.

"It's common to go in and find more than what you see on ultrasound because you had some small ones, but until you're actually in there looking, that's really the only way to know for sure," said Dr. Gravely.

Holmes-Wiggins spent two nights in the hospital.

Recovery first included slowly reintroducing food into her diet. Next came movement. Her core muscles had been cut, so just pushing her body to sit up and walk a few feet was very painful.

Recovery room nurse Shauna McCreedy said, "Generally the surgeons will talk to patients and let them know, number one, we will never get rid of all your pain when you have surgery, but we like to get it to a comfortable level."

Then came weeks of rest at home.

Most women with fibroids don't have any symptoms, but for women who do, there are many treatments available. So talk to your doctor, and remember - a second opinion is always a good idea to help you decide on how to proceed.

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